Thursday: Psalm 42-43; Isaiah 19.16-25; Matthew 1.1-17

From: Brittany Yeager

Do you ever find yourself in a rut between what you believe about God and what you seem to be experiencing of him? The ground between the two well-worn, as you are tossed between the unbelief and belief? This has been the juxtaposition I have found within myself and those close to me as we have struggled together through pain—pain of infertility, pain of unemployment, pain of chronic illness, pain of loneliness, pain of unmet desires, pain of difficult diagnoses—and, really, the list could go on and on, couldn’t it? 

Throughout Psalm 42 and 43, we see the psalmist walk this same path between unbelief and belief. We witness the psalmist’s courage to be honest and forthright with the lies he is believing (Where is your God? Why have you forgotten me? Why have you rejected me?). And he certainly doesn’t sugar-coat the state of his soul, which he describes as thirsty (42.2), emptied (42.4), cast down, and in turmoil (42.5, 6, 11; 43.5).

And yet, three different times throughout these two psalms, we witness the psalmist’s return to truth. This isn’t a return that has shoved his pain under the rug, but rather addresses it full-on: “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?” This return is also marked by an exhortation and concluded with a promise: “Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.”

Perhaps we need to take the time to stop throughout our days and have a similar conversation with our own soul—ask ourselves and others the hard questions and sit still long enough to listen to the hard answers. May we have a genuine willingness to enter in to the painful places of unbelief. But don’t stay there: Hope in God, friends; for we will once again see the goodness of the Lord in his mysterious purposes for us, leading us again to praise him, our salvation and our God.

Ever since Jon and I returned from our trip to London, we’ve tried to incorporate afternoon tea into our family rhythms. Bravo to the Brits for implementing a cultural expectation to slow down mid-afternoon long enough to enjoy a warm drink and yummy confectionaries!